Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkin Patch: Cousins and Pooch/ Les Cousins et le Toutou

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Pumpkin Patch; Marché des Citrouilles

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Pumpkin Patch: accessories from the haunted house/ Accessoires de la maison "hanté"

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Pumpkin Patch: I'm fixing the gears/ Je repare le tracteur!

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Pumpkin Patch; This one? Celui-ci?

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With Grama at the Pumpkin Patch

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Pumpkin Patch: the Choice!

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Pumpkin Patch Maze

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Dragon Attacking Princess w/ St.George Ready to Defend Her/ Le Dragon qui Attaque le Princess avec St.George Pret a La Defendre

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Festivals and Anticipation/ Les Fetes et l'Anticipation

A few weeks ago, we were planning and thinking about one of our fall events; Michaelmas. This is where we remember through songs, reading and acting out the conquering of the dragon by St.George, and the story of St.Michael driving the demons (who have gone from human to dragon form) from Heaven in the old days. Michaelmas has been an important date on the calendar for forever, as it is very close to the autumn equinox or mabon. Here is a website I came across with all of the ancient traditions surrounding Michaelmas:  One fun thing we always remember to do at an equinox in our house is to balance an egg; those are the two days of the year when an egg will stand alone on its end. Next time to try: March 21.

The great thing about preparing for a festival ahead of time is the anticipation. My older children look forward to the food and the time off from everyday life, and the younger ones begin to plan costumes and play out the scenes from the stories they know. Their imaginations have a focal point and can roam free from there. This year, even the lion got a costume! 

We are already into Halloween week now...the costumes have changed, but the excitement in the air is as great as ever. 

Il y a quelques semaines, nous étions en train de plannifier et de reflechir sur un de nos évènements de l'automne: Michaelmas. C'est le jour ou on se souvient, en chansons, histoires et dramatisations, la conquete du dragon par St George et l'histoire de St Michael qui oblige les demons (qui se sont transformés en dragon) à quitter le Paradis. Michaelmas est une date importante depuis longtemps, car ça tombe tout près de la date de l'equinox ou mabon. Voici un site web que j'ai trouvé avec les traditions anciennes de Michaelmas; Une des choses amusantes que nous faisons chaque équinox est de poser un oeuf debout sur une surface plate. Les équinox sont les deux jours de l'année ou cela marche, Le prochain jour pour essayer: le 21 mars,

C'est l'anticipation, le plus genial dans les preparitifs pour une fete. Les grands sont excités d'avoir du temps liberé du quotidien; et les petits commencent à prevoir les costumes et de repeter les scenes des histoires qu'ils connaissent. Ca donne un focus a l'imagination qui peux se promener librement de la. Cette année, meme le lion a eu un costume!

Nous sommes déjà dans la semaine de Halloween. L'on a changé de costume; mais l'excitation dans l'aire est aussi important!

Preparing for our Micaelmas Celebration/ Preparation pour la fete du St.Michael

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Waldorf Everyday Lessons: Exercise, Routine, Rhythm and Variation/ Leçons Waldorf de Tous les Jours: le Sport, Routine, Rhythme et Variations

As I was jogging with my little dog yesterday, I realized how happy I was to have finally decided to "mix up" my exercise routine. I have never liked that enthusiastic phrase that hollers stridently at you from the pages of  all of the fitness magazines and articles, encouraging you to move more and in more ways. I liked my morning walk, to the same place, along the same path, predictable and steady; one place where my feet could go while my mind wandered.

Hier, alors que je courrais avec mon toutou, je me suis rendue compte de combien j'étais contente d'avoir  décidé enfin, de varier ma routine de sport. Je n'ai jamais aimé ces phrases enthousiastes qui vous crient dessus depuis les pages de tous les magazines sportifs, ces articles qui vous encouragent à bouger plus, et de plein de façons différentes. J'aimais ma promenade matinale, vers le même lieu, a parcourir le même chemin; prévisible, constant; un espace où mes pieds fonçaient alors que ma tete vagabondait.

However, making the decision to take up running at 40ish, meant that those parts that would tire from walking now get a little bit more sore more quickly, necessitating a break from running. This left me with holes in my exercise schedule. I don't like holes. They become large, gaping, but rock-solid excuses NOT to get out the door. I needed a plan that left no holes. 

Ou, ayant pris la decision de commencer a courrir à la quarantaine, voulait dire que les parties qui se fatiguaient autrefois apres la marche, se fatiguent un peu plus vite maintenant, necessitant du repos de courrir. Ceci me laissait avec des trous dans mon emploi de temps pour le sport. Je n'aimes pas les trous. Ils ont tendance a devinir des excuses énormes, mais solides comme du beton pour ne PAS sortir de la porte. J'avais besoin d'un plan qui ne laissait pas de place pour les trous.

I recently acquired my very own, new bicycle. (I never squeal, but if I were the squealing type, it would have come in right there.) I've been riding my grandmother's Gitane from the 80's off and on throughout the last 10 years, not always a reliable ride, and the darn bike trailer my little Puck (Gael) rides in would disconnect alarmingly in the middle of a hill. The Gitane has gone to her rest, with thanks for lovely memories and good service. I have a new bike; a Globe Daily, with a cute basket to hold my knitting and a bell that goes "ding!" The trailer is a perfect fit and the whole thing rides like a dream!

Récemment, j'ai acquis mon propre vélo, tout neuf. (Je ne pousse jamais de petits cris de fille sur-excité, mais si je le faisais, ce sera la.) Je me sers du velo Gitane de ma grand-mere des annees 80 depuis les 10 dernieres annees, pas toujours un velo fiable, et le remorque velo, ou je porte mon petit Puck (Gael) avait facheuse tendance a se deconnecter au mileu d'une colline. La Gitane est partie a son repos, avec des remerciements pour de souvenirs merveilleux et de bonne service.

My knee still gets sore after a good ride, my ankle still stings the morning after a run, but when I alternate the two, and add in a day of trampoline with the kids following that, the variety is not a scary thing and the benefits are: fun, interest (visually, for one; you can see into the neighbors' yards on the trampoline, meet other dogs and their owners walking, and far away vistas while biking) and a body that doesn't break down in one particular place for too long (have I mentioned shin splints?)

Jai toujours mal au genout après une sortie en vélo, ma cheville pique le lendemain apres que je cours, mais quand j'alterne les deux, puis rajoutte une journee de trampoline avec les enfants, la varieté ne me fait pas peur. Les avantages sont plusieurs: c'est amusant, interessant (de point de vue de la vue: depuis la trampoline, on voit dans les jardins des voisins, en marchant on rencontre les autres chiens et leurs proprietaires, en vélo, on voit des paysages lointains) et un corps qui ne relache pas dans un seul endroit pendant trop longtemps (ai-je parle de la périostite tibiale?)

Waldorf education is very much like that. We have things that should be done each day; a little journal writing, a little math, music, foreign language. Then we have the block we are working on and its story or project. It can be easy to get caught up in racing to accomplish simply the day's work or the state-requirements-type work, and not give enough attention or work with reverence on the beautiful story you planned on telling, or the Indian meal you had planned to make with your daughter or son. It can also be easy to focus so fully on the story that you neglect the daily work until it piles up in a dark corner somewhere and when it is dug out again it feels like brand-new drudgery for the child.

L'education Waldorf est tout a fait comme ça. Nous avons des choses qu'il faut faire tous les jours; un peu d'écriture dans les cahiers, un peu de maths, la musique, la langue etrangere. Avec ca, nous avons le sujet sur lequel on travail en ce moment en profondeur, avec ses histoires et ses projets. Ce sera facile de se laisser aller dans la course a finir le travail de la journée. On ne travaille plus, alors, avec assez d'attention, d'intention ou bien de reverence sur l'histoire jolie qu'on allait raconter ou le repas Indien qu'on allait preparer avec sa fille ou son fils. Ce sera facil, aussi, de se concentrer sur l'histoire a un point ou on neglige le travail quotidien jusqu'a ce qu'il s'entasse dans un coin dans le noir. Lorsqu'il est ressorti, l'enfant a l'impression que c'est une nouvelle corvée.

The key is the proportions and getting them right, like spices in a complicated recipe. You could maybe use a timer for journaling if there is grumbling, or go on a walk to begin the math lesson.  Over it all, the variety comes in through the layering of the work theme of each day that lends a rhythm to the week. Yes, we need to repeat some things for them to stick; writing, math, piano, but when each day of the week has its own expectations, there is more joy in anticipation too. An example of this rhythm; Monday might be the day to paint, Tuesday: modeling with beeswax or playdough, Wednesday to bake, Thursday music lessons, Friday to knit or crochet. For a younger child, the activities will be more linked to the needs of the household; cleaning, laundry, making soup, but he will get the rhythm and it will live in him. Besides, little kids get excited about the simplest things; cleaning day? Cool! Mama or Daddy gives me a spray bottle and rag and I go to town! Free labor, and such sweet moments. Enjoy your routine and your days.

La clef est de trouver les bonnes proportions, comme les épices dans une recette compliquée. Vous pourriez peut-etre utiliser une minutier pour l'écriture dans les journaux intimes, si on se plaint beaucoup, ou bien faire une promenade pour commencer la leçon des maths. Par dessus tout, la varieté se trouve dans les couches du theme du travail pour chaque jour. C'est ce qui prete un rhythme a la semaine. Oui, nous sommes obliges de repeter certaines choses pour que ca prenne; l'écriture, les maths, le piano, mais quand chaque jour de la semaine a ses propres expectations, il y a plus de joie dans l'anticipation aussi. Un exemple de cette rhythm: le lundi, disons, on peint, mardi; on travail avec la pate ou cire d'abeille a sculpter, le mercredi; on fait le pain et les gateaux, jeudi; leçons de piano, vendredi; on tricote. Pour un enfant de plus bas age, les activités seront plus lieées aux besoins du foyer; le netoyage, le linge, faire de la soupe, mais il aura un rhythme et celui-ci vivra en lui. D'ailleurs, les gosses petits s'excitent apropos des choses les plus simple. Jour de menage? Chouette! Mamamn ou Papa me donnent une bouteille d'eau pour asperger et un chiffon et je m'occupe. Du boulot gratuit et des moments trés doux. Profitez bien de votre routine et de vos journées. 

For more information on making the most of your homeschooling and parenting days, this website and program is a treasure chest of jewels:

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Candles in the Making/ Bougies en plein fabrication

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Candle-making/ La Fabrication des Bougies

What started out as a resolution to finally make our candles for the fall yesterday, became a full-fledged Waldorf co-op party. It was not a planned event. At best, I hoped to have a calm day recovering from a weekend of car-pooling to and from homecoming events for my teens, last-minute shopping trips and late nights, waiting up for my saintly friend who was bringing mine home since Papa is out of town this week. 

Candle-making was a bit of business we wanted to get down to, something Charles in particular had been clamoring to do for the past week or so. I gathered our wax, wicks and other materials and began the melting process. Before I had finished, I had the pleasure of visits from three friends with four children staying to play or pour wax. The smell of beeswax and the sounds of "ooo, cool," warmed the house to autumn perfection.

Ce qui a commencé hier comme une resolution de fabriquer, enfin, les bougies de l'autonme, est devenu une cooperative Waldorf entiére. Cela n'a pas été prevu. Au mieux, j'esperait une journée calme pour recuperer d'un weekend de conduire les grands aux evenements de l'école (match de foot,  le bal), les courses de la derniére minute ("j'ai besoin d'une cravate!)  et des soirées tardives, a attendre que ma sainte copine ramène mes enfants, puisque Papa est en voyage cette semaine.

Faire les bougies, c'était un travail qu'il nous resté à faire, quelque chose que Charles, en particulier, me reclamait de faire depuis toute la semaine. J'ai ammassé cire, mèche et les autres materiaux, puis j'ai commencé a faire fondre la cire. Avant d'avoir terminé, j'ai eu le bonheur d'avoir de la visite de trois copines avec quatre enfants, qui sont restés pour jouer ou pour verser la cire. L'odorat de cire d'abeille et les bruits de "oooo, chouette!" ont reussi a chauffer la maison à la perfection de l'autonme.

4 Tips for Transitioning from a Traditional School to Home Education

I am pleased to present a special post today, from guest author, Katheryn Rivas, an adult who was herself educated at home. Her topic holds good bits of wisdom for both the new and veteran homeschooler, enjoy her view of the world!

Aujourd'hui, je suis ravie de présenter un article d'un auteur invité, Katheryn Rivas, une adulte qui a été elle-même eduquée à la maision. Son sujet offre plein de petits bouts de sagesse, pour le nouveau comme pour le homeschooler experimentés.

4 Tips for Transitioning from a Traditional School to Home Education

Many blogs out there offer lots of advice to parents whose children are making the transition from home school to something a bit more traditional, whether it's high school, college, or something else. Most parents don't talk about the flipside of this. Personally, I attended a traditional school until third grade, after which my family relocated. There weren't any quality schools in the area, so my parents decided to give home education a try.
For most families, it may be quite a difficult decision, but since my father was homeschooled by his parents, we knew from personal experience that home education is not nearly as daunting as it may seem to those not in the know. As for me, I had mixed feelings about staying at home for school. I was excited about what I knew would be a more casual environment and more flexible hours. I was excited also to have my siblings as my classmates. I was, however, a little bit saddened that I wouldn't be in a classroom with a bunch of my peers. Still, I looked forward to the experience because my parents were excited, and their excitement was infectious. Here are a few ways to help your kids make the same, exciting transition from a traditional school to home education:

  1. Encourage your kids to stay friends with their classmates.

In my case, my family had moved away from the town where I grew up, so staying friends with faraway classmates was a bit harder. My younger sister didn't mind, simply because she would be starting kindergarten and didn't have much experience interacting with lots of other kids her age. My older brother and I were quite devastated after the move, since we had very good friends that we hung out with constantly in the town we used to live in. Soon, however, we adjusted, and found ourselves spending more time together playing and having fun. I honestly credit homeschooling with giving me the very close relationship I have with my siblings then and now, a relationship that very few others have.
Still, having friends outside the family circle is important.  If you choose to start homeschooling after relocation, take a leaf out of my mother's book—encourage your kids to write letters to their friends. It's an incredibly fun experience to get letters in the mail, not to mention that it helps improve writing skills. If you do continue residing in the same city after beginning home education, make sure the kids are involved with their friends in some way, like an after school sports program or a church choir.

  1. Find other ways to replace aspects of traditional schooling, like keeping a schedule.

While you probably made the switch from a traditional school to home education for a reason—perhaps you felt you could teach your children in a better and more loving environment then their previous school—there are certain things about the traditional school that are worth preserving. For example, home education is great but, in my experience, we often went off a consistent schedule, taking a day off from school then having to catch up doing extra work throughout the week. Home school days are not as long as traditional days given the personal attention devoted to each student, but try to wake up and start class at the same time each day, and try to end at the same time as well.

  1. Make outdoor activity a priority.

In traditional schools, children may have more opportunity for outdoor activity, simply because they are forced outside during recess.  With home education, at least in my experience, it's easy to slip into a fairly sedentary lifestyle. When we first started home education, we didn't really have "recess" per se. It was just an hour-long break after lunch to do with what we pleased. Often, my brother and I would simply watch TV or play video games. After some time, my mother realized that we needed proper recess time in which we spent time playing outdoors. Once we were forced to go outside, we ended up having a great time, playing catch, hide-and-seek, kicking around a soccer ball, and riding our bikes. As homeschool parents, you can encourage (even mandate) taking outdoor breaks often, have your kids join sports leagues, and even host classes outside when the weather is nice.

  1. Embrace the unique advantages that homeschooling has to offer.

There's so much about homeschooling that far and away beats out traditional schooling, but many don't take full advantage. I think being able to go on vacations on your own schedule is one the best parts about home education. My parents took me and my siblings on educational trips, like camping in a forest a few hours away. There, my mom integrated our science lessons as we identified birds, animal tracks, etc. The other advantages include designing your own curriculum that allows your kids to expand their abilities more quickly than they could have at a traditional school
Transitioning from years of traditional schooling and moving to a home education environment can be tough and it can be tricky. There were definitely times during my homeschool experience in which I envied my neighborhood friends who went to school every day. But, then again, my friends were often jealous of me! As an adult, however, I see now the advantages of homeschooling clearly. I have an incredible relationship with my family, and, when I eventually attended a traditional university, I was academically miles ahead of my peers. In the end, it's all about making the most out of the whole experience. Trust me--you won't regret it! Good luck!

This guest post is contributed by Katheryn Rivas, who writes on the topics of online universities
advice. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: